A Moment in Time

There are moments in your life when you wish you could turn back time—even for just five minutes.

For Emily and Rogel Carpizo, that time was late afternoon on April 20, 2013. Emily had just gotten home from work. It was a warm day, so she had opened all the windows to let the fresh air in.

While she was making dinner, her six-year-old daughter, Ruth, was running up and down the stairs, playing dress-up. Just a few minutes after Ruth ran back upstairs to her third floor bedroom, Emily heard pounding on her front door.

“Ruth is a walking miracle.”

The moment she opened it, her neighbor was screaming at her: “Your daughter just fell out of her bedroom window!”

Emily ran outside and went right up to Ruth. She was moving slightly and her eyes were open. “I remember thinking, she’s alive, she’s going to be okay!” says Emily. “It had not clicked in my head yet how bad it was.”

As Emily learned a few days later, the neighbor had seen Ruth dancing on the window seat in her bedroom. Apparently, she leaned against the screen to wave to her friends outside. The screen gave way, and Ruth tumbled 35 feet onto the concrete below, shattering the right side of her skull and right elbow.

In just minutes, an ambulance arrived and rushed Ruth to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, where a team of neurosurgeons performed an emergency craniotomy, removing part of her skull to give her brain room to swell. She had a second craniotomy the next day, and several additional surgeries over the following months.

Today, she can walk, run and jump! As Emily notes, “Ruth is a walking miracle. We have those wonderful surgeons, nurses and therapists at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic to thank.”

Life can take a terrible turn when you least expect it. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals are here to care for every child in need, no matter how serious the injury or how rare the illness—kids just like Ruth who inspire us to be our best every day.